Nuclear New York?
New York State currently gets about 40 Megawatts of its electricity from nuclear power, the most from any single source. Many of these nuclear plants are reaching the end of their 40 year licence periods. Leading candidate for NY governor Attorney General Eliot Spitzer (D) is against renewing Indian Point Nuclear. A recent study concluded that NY State would have to build a Liquified Natural Gas facility to generate enough energy to make up for that shortfall.
New York City has decided to not build another power plant and instead employ a variety of conservation measures to prevent the need for one in the future. By law, NYC needs to produce 80% of its own power. However, NYC still depends on Indian Point and other upstate nuclear plants to meet it's daily needs.
NY State stands at a critical moment in making choices about it's energy future. Enter former mayor Rudy Guilinani.
The centrism came in the policy speech, which found the former mayor in full-on Ross Perot mode with a series of charts and graphs detailing 1) how U.S. energy demand has far outstripped domestic production since 1960 and 2) how countries like France and Belgium are far outstripping the United States in their use of nuclear power.
Drawing on his experience managing New York City's power problems, Giuliani spoke of the government red tape that makes it virtually impossible to build power plants, oil refineries and (especially) nuclear-power facilities.
Summing up U.S. energy policy since the 1970s, he was blunt: "We haven't done anything." We haven't drilled in Alaska. We haven't built oil refineries. We haven't ordered a nuclear power plant since 1978.
We need to start doing these things, he said, to diversify. Energy independence, he said, is simply the "wrong paradigm," despite the idea's popularity in quarters of both the Left and the Right. Instead, in a global economy, "We have to diversify, that's our strength . . . You can be independent by being diversified."
In fact, this emphasis on diversity of generating sources is exactly what I recommended back in March, although without increase in conservation efforts and renewables (or the drilling in Alaska):
While imperfect, it seems to make sense to keep in place New York's existing diversified infrastructure of coal, nuclear, NG and Oil until the renewables can be ramped up to meet demand (which should be shrinking). They can serve as a diversified bridge to the next phase. This may take a long time, but until then it makes no sense constructing any more fossil fuel electric generating capacity.
Frankly, the worst situation for New York would be power shortages that force politicians to simply build another coal fired power plant to meet the needs. If the older nuclear plants are going to be decommissioned (and serious examinations need to be done on how long they might effectively be safe and economical) then it may makes sense to build a new nuclear power plant to maintain a diverse energy portfolio until renewables can be ramped up.